Pura Vida: Part 4

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Calls with Mommy #100HappyDays

Day 17: Phone calls with my mommy make me happy. I speak with my mom on the phone a couple of times a week–I literally just got off the phone with her–and every time I hear her voice, I smile. She is so smart and always has the best advice and I love her more than anything in the world! I wish I lived closer so that we could spend more time together face-to-face, but these phone calls keep me happy in between visits. 

The (Not So Great) Compromise

Compromise:  “a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial.”

Dang, Merriam-Webster.  That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?  (Though I’m certain advocates for the Virginia Plan would side with you.)

I like the simple definition better:  “a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute.”

The key word in that definition?  Each.  Each person gives up something.  Not one, but each.

I met someone who by all accounts was exactly what I wanted.  Handsome.  Intelligent.  Successful.  Wonderful listener.  Socially conscious.  Empathetic.  Great teeth (don’t judge me, as everyone has their preferences and this is one of mine).  But there was a teeny, tiny catch…

He was into open dating.

And, well…I’m…not.

It’s fine if others want to have open relationships, but I’m just not that kinda gal.  Call me prissy, prudish, old-fashioned, unrealistic, whatever you want–it’s just not for me.  I’m the type of person who goes all in when I commit to something, so that’s what I want in return.  I’m also an only child, so sharing isn’t my strong suit (again, don’t judge me, as everyone has their flaws and this is one of mine).

So when he mentioned the subject with me, I listened to his rationale.  I heard him out. I let him explain what it all meant and how he practiced it. (All the while hearing my intuition screaming, “Girl!  What.  Are.  You.  Thinking?!?  This is not your lane!  Don’t go there!  This is not what you want!”)

And yet…I said I’d think about it.  I honestly considered being one of many, even though my heart disagreed.  This man was 80% what I needed him to be.  I could live without that 20%, right? No one’s perfect.  I was willing to compromise.  That’s what adults are supposed to do–compromise!  Each person gives up something for the greater good.

…But that wasn’t what was happening.  Each person wasn’t giving up something.  I was giving up something, and something I really, really  want:  Monogamy.  Faithfulness.  A one-and-only kind of love.

I don’t think that kind of love is impossible.  I’ve seen it happen and I know it can happen for me.  But it surely won’t if I keep doing this fake ass “compromising.”

I told him every man in my life (until recently) has let me down.  They abandoned me.  They decided that some one or something else was more important than me.  I do not want that any more.  I refuse to commit someone who is not willing to give everything, because that’s what I’m willing to give.  I will not be second best.

I deserve someone who will make me their one.  Their only.

So we decided it wasn’t going to work out.  He’s a great person; I won’t cross the street or cuss his ass out if I ever see him again.  He’s just not the one for me.

I was in my feelings a little bit after our decision to part ways and stumbled across this gem that reaffirmed I was taking the best action for my life.

Here’s to falling in love for the right reason and finding someone to share me…with me.

Ashley in Tinder-land

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I must be mad, y’all.  Sunday night, I did something I swore I’d never do again…

I got back on Tinder.

Now, my previous Tinder experiences have been lackluster at best.  (Yes, at BEST.)  Some of the men I’ve had the displeasure of meeting include:

…the one who asked me (before we’d ever met) if I liked to give head.

…the one who (after a pretty great date) disappeared for five months, then tried to come back into my life only to be too busy to spend time with me.

…the one who (again, before we’d ever met) called me damaged because I refused to cosign on his claim that he was the best thing that ever happened to me EVEN THOUGH I HAD NEVER MET HIM.  He claimed I was “choosing a Buick over a Bentley” (whatever that means).

…the one who sexually harassed me, then bashed Black women (a.k.a. women who look just like me) on Facebook.

…the one who had a girlfriend the entire time we were dating.  His girlfriend actually contacted me to find out the details of our relationship.

Y’all can see why Tinder-land wasn’t a place I wanted to stay for an extended period of time.

But because I’m optimistic–or a glutton for punishment, I’m not quite sure–I’ve decided to give it another try because I want to find love.  My last relationship was pretty terrible.  My Tinder experiences weren’t much better.  But through it all, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Distancing myself from toxic people is okay.  In fact, it is necessary for my personal sanity.
  • I don’t owe anyone anything.  A man doesn’t deserve a date, an explanation, or a minute of my time just because he decided to speak to me.
  • I shouldn’t settle for just anyone.  The man God has for me will be all I need him to be.
  • High standards yield high results. Holding myself to a higher standard (and expecting the same from the men I interact with) will help me weed out the ones who don’t deserve me.
  • Self-love is a prerequisite to a loving relationship.  In the words of one of my role models, RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
  • I am worthy of unconditional love.

So with all of those lessons learned, I’m ready to head back to Tinder-land.  Lewis Carroll said it better than I ever could:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

Here we go…

Nothing Less

Life is too short to waste time on those that don’t deserve it. Every person you hold dear should improve your life and make you a better person in some way. If they aren’t bothered with making time for you, keeping promises, or caring about your feelings, keep it moving. They don’t want to invest in you, so why should you invest in them?

It can be hard to end those relationships and sever those ties, but it must be done. You deserve to be surrounded by people who care about you and want to make you a better person, not those who only care when it’s convenient or beneficial to them. You are worthy of dedication, love, and respect. 

Accept nothing less. 

Down the Aisle: 365 Days and Counting!

One year from today, JB and I will become husband and wife!

I’m starting this series on wedding planning to share my experience and hopefully make wedding planning easier for lots of other brides out there.  When JB and I first got engaged, I quickly became overwhelmed with all of the details that needed to be addressed.  However, as someone who has worked as a professional project manager, I’m confident that I’ll be able to coordinate all of the details and make our wedding truly spectacular.  Look forward to posts on invitation selection, ceremony details, reception planning, DIY decor, and more!

But at the end of the day, the reception decorations and ceremony programs aren’t what really matters.  What matters is two people becoming one and creating their own family.  What matters is promising to be there for one another always, through the great times and the terrible times.  Regardless of what the decorations look like, I can’t wait to stand in front of our family and friends and publicly declare our commitment to each other and to God.

I’ve been praying a special prayer for JB and I as our wedding date draws nearer.  “Father, please bless our union. Allow us to serve You, bringing us closer together as we draw closer to You. We are thankful you brought us together and unite us for life.”

One of our very first photos together!

One of our very first photos together!

No Greater Gift

Wednesday evening, two packages were delivered to my house.  I was heading out the door to run some errands with JB so I didn’t stop to open them.  One I expected–some hair care products I ordered online.  The other was a mystery.  All I knew was that it came from my mom in Kentucky.

Fast forward through another long day.  After finishing errands, visiting a friend, and fixing supper for JB and me, I finally got the opportunity to open the package from my mom.  It was a small box–probably the size of a paperback book–and wrapped in brown paper.  As I ripped through the paper I thought, “What the heck is Mom sending me?”  I hadn’t asked for anything and she hadn’t mentioned that I’d have a package coming–which is part of the reason I’m writing this.

Once I got through the paper, I saw a box for an assortment of greeting cards.  At that point, I got really confused.  I knew I hadn’t asked for greeting cards.  I had no clue why she’d just send me some out of the blue.  I almost called her right then to ask why she sent me a random box of greeting cards because it just didn’t make sense to me.

And then I opened the box.  A greeting card with the handwritten message “Enjoy this holiday season in your own home!  Love Ya, Mommy”  and a Christmas ornament with the inscription “There is no greater gift than the love of a daughter.”

She worked two jobs to make sure we had the things we needed and that I had the things I wanted.  Notice I didn’t say, “we” had the things “we” wanted, because I’m certain you wanted one job to be enough.  But it wasn’t, so you did what you had to. Who has a greater love?

I see girls every single day who didn’t go to college because they weren’t encouraged to read.  Girls who don’t have their own homes because they weren’t taught how to budget and save.  Girls who became mothers to children while they were children themselves because they weren’t taught to respect themselves, they weren’t told that any man worth having will wait for you.  And I know that, in a different place and under different circumstances, I could have been just like them.

Fortunately, I was blessed with a mother who wasn’t afraid to be a parent instead of a friend.  Who pushed me and encouraged me and punished me when I did things I shouldn’t have done.  Who might not understand the choices I make in my life but who does understand that they are my choices to make.

So this holiday season as you’re celebrating, take time to remind those that you love why you love them. Appreciate every gift, great and small. And give love greatly.

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Ornament from my mom (right) and and ornament of my dad